Tag Archives: female friendship

Mary Barber, “Written for a Gentlewoman in Distress. To her Grace ADELIDA, Dutchess of Shrewsbury”

[MARY BARBER]

Written for a Gentlewoman in Distress. To her Grace ADELIDA, Dutchess of Shrewsbury”

Might I inquire the Reasons of my Fate,
Or with my Maker dare expostulate;
Did I, in prosp’rous Days, despise the Poor,
Or drive the friendless Stranger from my Door?
Was not my Soul pour’d out for the Distress’d?                          5
Did I not vindicate the Poor oppress’d?
Did not the Orphan’s Cry with me prevail?
Did I not weep the Woes I could not heal?
Why then, Thou gracious, Thou all-pow’rful God,
Why do I feel th’ Oppressor’s Iron Rod?                                         10
Why thus the Scorners cruel Taunts endure,
Who basely fret the Wounds, they will not cure?
O Thou, whose Mercy does to All extend,
Say, shall my Sorrows never, never, end?
Let not my Tears for ever, fruitless, flow;                                     15
Commiserate a Wretch, o’erwhelm’d with Woe;
No longer let Distress my Bosom tear:
O shield me from the Horrors of Despair!

Forgive me, Madam, that I thus impart
The Throbs, the Anguish, of a breaking Heart.                            20
Oft, when my weary’d Eyes can weep no more,
To sooth my Woes, I read your Letters o’er.
Goodness, and Wit, and Humour, there I find;
And view with Joy those Pictures of your Mind;
With Pleasure on the lov’d Resemblance gaze,                            25
Till peaceful Slumbers on my Eye-lids seize.
Then, then, Imagination glads my Sight
With transient Images of past Delight;
My aking Heart of ev’ry Care beguiles;
Then TALBOT lives, and ADELIDA smiles.                                       30

Delightful Forms! why will you fleet away,
And leave me to the Terrors of the Day?
In vain from Reason I expect Relief;
For sad Reflection doubles ev’ry Grief.
Some of my Friends in Death’s cold Arms I see;                            35
Others, tho, living, yet are dead to me?
Of Friends, and Children both, I am bereft,
And soon must lose the only Blessing left;
A Husband form’d for Tenderness and Truth,
The lov’d, the kind Companion of my Youth;                                  40
With him, thro’ various Storms of Fate I pass’d;
Relentless Fate!—And must we part at last?
O King of Terrors, I invoke thy Pow’r;
Oh! stand between me and that dreadful Hour;
From that sad Hour thy wretched Suppliant save;                         45
Oh! shield me from it!—Hide me in the Grave!

NOTES:

Title ADELIDA, Dutchess of Shrewsbury Adelhilda Talbot (née Palleotti) (1660-1726), married Charles Talbot, Duke of Shrewsbury, in 1705.

2 expostulate “To argue or debate” (OED).

10 Iron Rod “A symbol of power or tyranny” (OED).

16 Wretch “A miserable, unhappy, or unfortunate person” (OED).

30 TALBOT Charles Talbot, Duke and twelfth Earl of Shrewsbury (1660-1718). English statesman and leading figure in the Glorious Revolution, in support of William and Mary.  Also played a key role in the “peaceful succession” of George I in 1714 (Britannica).

43 King of Terrors “Death personified” (OED).

45 Suppliant “A person who makes a humble or earnest plea to another, especially to a person in power or authority” (OED).

SOURCE: Mary Barber, Poems on Several Occasions (London,1735), pp. 51-53. [Google Books]

Edited by Madelyn Yukich

Elizabeth Carter, “To Miss Hall. 1746”

ELIZABETH CARTER

“To Miss Hall. 1746”

 

WHILE soft thro’ water, earth, and air,
The vernal spirits rove,
From noisy joys, and giddy crowds,
To rural scenes remove.

The mountain snows are all dissolv’d,                                    5
And hush’d the blust’ring gale:
While fragrant Zephyrs gently breathe,
Along the flow’ry vale.

The circling planets constant rounds
The wintry wastes repair:                                                  10
And still, from temporary death,
Renew the verdant year.

But ah! when once our transient bloom,
The spring of life is o’er,
That rosy season takes its flight,                                              15
And must return no more.

Yet judge by Reason’s sober rules,
From false opinion free,
And mark how little pilf’ring years
Can steal from you or me.                                                   20

Each moral pleasure of the heart,
Each lasting charm of truth,
Depends not on the giddy aid
Of wild, inconstant youth.

The vain coquet, whose empty pride                                         25
A fading face supplies,
May justly dread the wintry gloom,
Where all its glory dies.

Leave such a ruin to deplore,
To fading forms confin’d:                                                       30
Nor age, nor wrinkles discompose
One feature of the mind.

Amidst the universal change
Unconscious of decay,
It views, unmov’d, the scythe of Time                                          35
Sweep all besides away.

Fixt on its own eternal frame,
Eternal are its joys:
While, borne on transitory wings,
Each mortal pleasure flies.                                                     40

While ev’ry short-liv’d flower of sense
Destructive years consume,
Thro’ Friendship’s fair enchanting walks
Unfading myrtles bloom.

Nor with the narrow bounds of Time,                                           45
The beauteous prospect ends,
But lengthen’d thro’ the vale of Death,
To Paradise extends.

NOTES:

Title “Afterwards wife of the Rev. John Nairn, of Kingston, near Canterbury” [Author’s Note].

2 vernal “Of the springtime” (OED).

7 Zephyrs “The west wind, frequently personified” (OED).

25 coquet “A woman, who is a flirt for the gratification of vanity and has no intention on responding to the feelings provoked” (OED).

35 scythe of Time Typically a destructive force.

44 myrtles Evergreen shrubs or small trees with fragrant white flowers (OED).

Source: Montagu Pennington, ed., Memoirs of the Life of Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, with a New Edition of her Poems (London, 1807), pp. 394-395.  [Google Books]

Edited by Eileen Sosa

Mary Masters, “To Lucinda”

MARY MASTERS

To Lucinda”

 LUCINDA, you in vain disswade
Two Hearts from mutual Love.
What am’rous Youth, or tender Maid
Could e’er their Flames remove?

What, if the Charms in him I see                                      5
Only exist in Thought:
Yet CUPID’S like the Medes Decree,
Is firm and changeth not.

Seek not to know my Passion’s spring,
The Reason to discover:                                            10
For Reason is an useless Thing,
When we’ve commenc’d the Lover.

Should Lovers quarrel with their Fate,
And ask the Reason why,
They are condemn’d to doat on That,                              15
Or for This Object die?

They must not hope for a Reply,
And this is all they know;
They sigh, and weep, and rave, and die,
Because it must be so.                                                20

LOVE is a mighty God you know,
That rules with potent Sway:
And, when he draws his awful Bow,
We Mortals must obey.

Since you the fatal Strife endur’d,                                     25
And yielded to his Dart:
How can I hope to be secur’d,
And guard a weaker Heart?

NOTES:

1 disswade Variation of dissuade “to give advice against” (OED).

7 CUPID’S The Roman God of love, son of Venus; often appears as an infant with wings carrying a bow, and arrows that have the power to inspire love in those they pierce (Encyclopædia Britannica); Medes Decree Refers to the laws of the Medes and Persians, “Medes” being an ancient Indo-European people whose empire encompassed most of Persia; in the Bible, “laws of the Medes” is a proverbial phrase meaning, “something that is unalterable” (OED).

21 LOVE The God of love, Cupid.

22 Sway “Power” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London: T. Browne, 1733), pp. 151-53.  [Hathi Trust]

Edited by Brittany Kirn

“Philotheorus,” “Card Playing Philosophized, Addressed to a Young Lady, with a Pack of Cards”

“PHILOTHEORUS”

“CARD PLAYING Philosophized, Addressed to a Young Lady, with a Pack of Cards”

 From this little gay playful machine,
As beheld in contention, we view,
How the various departments of men,
Life’s business and pleasures pursue.

Since, while some play the Child, and the Fool,                               5
The Knave others play—in their evil
More advanc’d in iniquities school,
The Deuce others play, and the Devil.

There are the proud King and the vain Queen,
The false Heart, and gay Di’mond who play;                                    10
While with Clubs, and with Spades, there are seen,
Some urging their desperate way.

But, to vary the dark-grounded scene,
As life and experience require:
To Women there are, and to Men,                                                     15
To Christians and Saints, who aspire.

Thus far, my dear Pupil, at large——
Now to vary our prospect and stand:
And, point we, and bring home the charge,
As our “business and bosoms demand.”                                          20

Ask we, Monica, what is the part,
You and I are found playing below?
Is it founded in nature, or art?
Or does it from principle flow?

Does it rise upon virtue and worth?                                                 25
Is honor it’s groundwork and base?
On religion proceeds it, and truth?
How happy, where this is the case!

An acquaintance thus formed, must prove
To fair Friendship a certain advance;                                                 30
Nor terminate here, but to Love,
To the Christian Agapee inhance.

Then come my dear Sister and friend,
Leaving sense and the body behind,
To a purer commixture unbend,                                                         35
To the purer commixture of Mind!

Learn we, Ma’am, the heavenly art,
From the trunk to the head to repair;
And, quitting the animal part,
Display the wing’d cherubim there.                                                   40

What have We, my fair Colleague, to do
With the softer suggestions of sense?
Since God and High heav’n are in view,
Let us banish these blandishments hence.

Away, fond seducers, begone!                                                           45
Give us up our spirit’al pow’rs;
With sense and passions we’ve done;
The sweets of Religion be ours!

Commensurate these, while we live,
Our fastest companions will prove;                                                  50
Not to say latest life they’ll survive,
And join us in the regions above.

There, lost in the visions of Grace,
And swimming in oceans of Love,
We shall see GOD and our Father’s bright face,                              55
As it shines, through our JESUS above!

NOTES:

2 view Corrected from a printer’s error “wiew.”

6 Knave “A dishonest or unprincipled man; a rogue” (OED).

8 iniquities “Unrighteous acts” or “sins” (OED).

21 Monica Name likely derived from St. Monica, known for her Christian piety, prudence and chastity; also recognized for her promotion of Christian values through motherhood (The Original Catholic Encyclopedia).

32 Agapee From the Greek “agape;” the concept of Christian love rather than sexual romantic love (Online Etymology Dictionary).  

40 cherubim Cherubs; angels (OED).

44 blandishments Flattery (OED).

49 commensurate “To define the extent of; to measure” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (September, 1767), pp. 517-518.

Edited by Lee Hammel